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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    My son complains about not being able to fall asleep. Why can't he fall asleep?

    This has been a frequent occurrence for my 15 year old son.

    I am not sure if it is anxiety related.

    I try and get him to get off the “screens” an hour before bed.

    He says that even reading doesn't help him get to sleep before 12.

    Any suggestions?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Moushami Kadkol

    Occupational Therapist (OT)

    Did your child have these concerns since he was an infant? Did he need to be cuddled constantly or taken on rides or rocked to put him to sleep as an infant?

    I have had a 12 year old child in my clinic with similar concerns. He was referred by his psychologist to assess underlying Sensory Processing Disorder. His main concerns were difficulties in falling asleep, staying awake. They had tried everything under the sky, even got him assessed for ttention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. But there was no change.

    Sensory Processing disorders happen when the one or more sensory systems like touch, vision, hearing, taste, smell, balance and movement have difficulties processing information and making sense of it for the brain to understand and react. Difficulties in tactile (touch) modulation and movement can lead to this dysregulation happening.

    You can try snugging your child in lycra garments under his night suit, ask him to maintain a before bed time diary to write down his before sleep thoughts, listen to soft classical music notes/  melodies. It would be good to consult an Occupational Therapist which special interest and certification in assessing and managing Sensory Processing.

  • 1


    Jessica Cole

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    This is a very common issue amongst adolescents when their tiredness tends to kick in later and later on top of all the other distractons that are around these days. It is known as a delayed sleep phase. 

    I have attached a link for you if you would like some further information and some tips to help your son:

    If he continues to have difficulty and it is noticeably affecting his daytime performance it might be worth contacting a clnical psychologist specialising in the treatment of sleep dfficulties who would be able to help implement effective strategies to improve his sleep. 

    Good luck!

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